Mariehamn, Finland

Introduction to Mariehamn, Finland

Mariehamn is a small town with a big personality

Mariehamn was founded in 1861 by Tzar Alexander II at a time when Åland and Finland were a part of the Russian Empire. Mariehamn is named after Tzar Alexander’s wife, Maria Alexandrovna.

Also known as ‘the town of the thousand Linden tress’ owing to the Linden trees that line an avenue across the centre, Mariehamn is a small town with a big personality. Although only small, the town centre provides a rich variety of shopping experiences, restaurants and cultural landmarks. And because the town is so small, nothing is ever very far away.

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CASTLES, ISLAND & COUNTRYSIDE

  • Discover the best of the Åland Islands on this scenic tour
  • Explore the open air museum at an 18th century farmstead   
  • Visit the historic Bomarsund Fortress and see Kastelholm Castle
Price£30.00 - £40.00
DurationApprox. 4 hours
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

This tour takes you into the countryside, home to old churches and castles, and gives you the opportunity to learn a great deal about the history of the Åland Islands.

Start with a short sightseeing tour through the town of Mariehamn, founded in 1865 by the reigning Russian Tsar. See the typical wooden houses from around 1900. South of Mariehamn a road takes you over the islands of Järsö, and a scenic drive will take you close to the water where – depending on weather and time of the year – you will hopefully see some of the local birdlife.

Continuing, visit the Jan Karlsgården, open air museum, to admire the traditional farmhouse buildings, typical of the Åland Islands in the late 18th century, that portray farming life on the island up to 200 years ago.

Close by you will see the ruins of Kastelholm Castle, preserved as an architectural and historical monument. View the castle, from the outside only, as your guide explains the interesting history of this landmark. “Kastelholm House” was mentioned for the first time in 1388, but it is unclear when the edifice was built.

You will visit the Church of Sund, which dates back to the 13th century, for an internal view. Some of the oldest restored murals from the latter part of the 13th century are to be found in Sund. Other forms of ecclesiastical art consist of wooden sculptures, holy roods and fonts of Gotland sandstone. One of the oldest objects is the holy rood in Sund, from the 1250’s.

From Sund, continue to Bomarsund Fortification ruins. The building of the fortification began in 1832 and continued until its destruction in 1854. As Finland and the Åland Islands at that time were under Russian rule, the purpose of the fortification was to secure Russia’s westernmost outpost against the enemy, Sweden. The Notvik Tower is the most northern defence tower of the fortress. The remains of two other towers and remnants of the main fortress also still exist. The Fortress of Bomarsund is one of the most remarkable historical monuments in Åland and from here you will have a spectacular view over the landscape of both sea and islands.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2013 SCANDINAVIA & BALTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, over grass, gravel and uneven pathways and there are a few steps. Guests using wheelchairs may take the tour, and stay on the coach at any of the sights if they prefer. All participants must be able to board the coach unaided. Entry to the Church of Sund may be denied due to religious functions. The order in which sights are visited may vary.


COUNTRYSIDE DRIVE & HADDNAS FARM VISIT

  • The countryside of the Åland Islands is uncovered on this tour 
  • Delight at Haddnäs Gård family run farm
  • Explore the rural landscapes and enjoy refreshments  
Price£45.00 - £55.00
DurationApprox. 3 hrs
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Visit the family at Haddnäs Gård in Lemland and enjoy a scenic drive through the Åland countryside.

The leading lady at Haddnäs Gård, or farm, is Barbro Karlsson. To the ordinary Ålander she is known as a breeder of trotters (cows), that have had some noted successes in the Swedish circuit. Her father, who is still active, started this branch of the farm which has raised a lot of local interest. All farms on Åland are small scale, in international comparisons - Haddnäs has about 60 cows. Now Barbro has taken over the farm and you will visit her and her mother at the farm house.

To gain an introduction to the farm you will climb onto a tractor drawn vehicle, from where you will see the meadows and the grazing area of the animals that are the most important income source for the farm - longhaired Highland Cattle and Simmental Cows. There will be a short stop at the waterfront to stretch your legs and if weather permits you will have refreshments here overlooking the sea.

There will be some free time for you to further explore the farm – perhaps stroll around the garden, visit the house or see the stable and corrals close by.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2013 SCANDINAVIA & BALTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: There is a moderate amount of walking involved in this tour – 600 to 800 metres and steps will be encountered at Haddnäs Gård. Walking will be over gravel and grassy terrain and may be uneven. Refreshments will be coffee and a traditional cinnamon bun - if the weather is unsettled these will be served indoors.


MARITIME ALAND

  • Explore Åland’s nautical history at the Maritime Museum
  • Go onboard the Pommern – one of the world’s last merchant sailing ships     
Price£40.00 - £50.00
DurationApprox. 3.5 hrs
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

This guided tour allows you to explore the Åland Maritime Museum and the sailing ship Pommern.

A short drive will first take you away from Mariehamn and to the farmstead of Pellas in Lemland, Granboda. Pellas is a shipmaster’s homestead built in 1884 by the ship owner Erik Petter Eriksson. He was a typical representative of the Åland farmers at the end of the 19th century who built their own ships and sailed both in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic. Today the home is a museum. Next visit the small medieval church in Lemland, which is believed to have been consecrated to St Nicholas, the seafarers’ patron saint. Mural paintings and wooden statues from about the year 1300 are worth seeing.

Back in Mariehamn, continue with a visit to the museum ship Pommern, built in 1903. When new it was a very modern ship, with brass and fall winches and a boiler for steam power to assist in loading and unloading. The ship operated as a cargo ship and during her German years she sailed between Europe and South America. Later Pommern sailed in what was known as "the grain trade", carrying grain from harbours in Australia to England and Ireland.

At the Maritime Museum you will be shown exhibits recalling the great days of the sailing ships. You can also experience the atmosphere of walking the ship's decks. On display are figureheads from ships of bygone times, which all have their own stories to tell about shipwrecks, storms or an ignominious end at the ship breakers. Many of the recreated ship models on display are made to the same scale as they were back in the days when they sailed. This means that present day viewers can see the difference in size, for example between a Baltic schooner and an ocean going windjammer.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2013 SCANDINAVIA & BALTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: Due to the amount of walking and steps, this tour is not suitable for wheelchair users or guests with limited mobility. The walking is over mainly paved areas but gangplanks and many steps are encountered. Lemland Church may be closed, in which case you will not be able to go inside. There will be a little free time at the Maritime Museum or Pommern. The order of sights visited may vary.


STALLHAGEN BREWERY

  • Enjoy Stallhagen Brewery – home to one of the world’s oldest preserved beers      
  • See how the natural ingredients are transformed into this renowned brew
  • Indulge in a tasting of several of the ales
Price£60.00 - £70.00
DurationApprox. 3 hrs
LimitationLimited capacity
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

This tour consists of the panoramic highlights of Mariehamn and includes a visit to Stallhagen brewery and pub.

Begin with a short sightseeing tour through the town of Mariehamn, founded in 1865 by the reigning Russian Tsar. Drive past the outdoor museum of Jan Karlsgården and the ruins of Kastelholm Castle.

Arriving at the Stallhagen Pub and Brewery you will be welcomed by a local host. Stallhagen beer is a locally produced slow beer, using fresh ingredients, which has received many awards at the Helsinki Beer Festival for their first class quality beer. The restored building was originally built as a barracks building for the Åland stationed Russian coastal artillery in the early 20th century. You will enjoy a short tour of the brewery and learn about production methods, traditions and trends in beer brewing. Enjoy a beer tasting; four are usually available, accompanied by a sample of local savoury specialities. During your visit, a short story of sparkling wine will most likely be heard, as the brewery is proud to own one of the oldest champagnes in the world. If the beer is to your liking, you will be able to make a purchase and take a bottle home as a reminder of your visit to the Åland Islands.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2013 SCANDINAVIA & BALTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: There is a little walking involved in this tour – approximately 200 metres – and some steps will be encountered. Beer will not be served to those under eighteen years of age.


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